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Ministry prioritises afforestation projects

Update: September, 15/2014 - 09:11
As a result of climate change, the annual flood destroys roads in the central region, in addition to damaging the assets and buildings of people living near rivers and seas. — VNS Photos Cong Thanh

HOI AN (VNS) — The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE) is giving top priority to afforestation and reforestation projects in line with Viet Nam's Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change (SP-RCC).

Truong Duc, deputy head of the Ministry's Department of Meteorology Hydrology and Climate Change, made this pronouncement at a forum on the sharing of experiences in climate change adaptation pilot projects in Quang Nam last Friday.

"The Government had approved a list of 62 priority projects for the SP-RCC, with an estimated fund of VND20 trillion (US$952 million). However, the fund just allocated VND1 trillion ($47.6 million) for 16 projects in coastal and mountainous provinces from 2013 to 2014," Tri said.

"Quang Nam and Ben Tre, two provinces in the central coastal and Mekong (Cuu Long) River Delta regions, were designated as areas for further expansion of the country's SP-RCC from 2016 to 2020. Some pilot projects which the Government of Denmark sponsored have benefited thousands of residents in the two provinces," he added.

He revealed that the MNRE and other ministries had formulated and implemented more than 200 climate change-related policy actions from 2010 to 2013 under the SP-RCC, with $900 million in funding from the World Bank, Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and French Agency for Development (AfD), as well as from Canada, Australia and South Korea.

According to Tri, exactly 16 of 19 pilot projects in the two provinces were completed, thereby benefitting 28,000 residents.

Vo Nhu Toan, deputy head of Quang Nam Province's Climate Change Office, said the province had drafted a climate change response plan on the assumption that 235 areas in 11 districts would become most vulnerable, by 2030, to rising sea levels and temperatures, as well as drought, erosion, storms and floods.

"We replanted 40 hectares of mangrove forests and 12 hectares of casuarinas in the coastal communes of Nui Thanh District and constructed sea dykes, embankments, infrastructure for resettlement and multi-function storm shelters with a total fund of VND62 billion ($295,000) from 2010 to 13," Toan said.

"The projects have helped in ensuring solid infrastructure and smooth traffic flow, and the buildings and roads are resistant to storms, floods and erosion," he added. "Concrete roads and irrigation channels were designed to ensure smooth traffic flow and efficient farm product delivery. They also serve as docks for fishing vessels and as emergency evacuation pathways in case of heavy flooding.

"All pilot projects were built on the basis of a scenario that some districts will be most vulnerable to a rise in sea levels by 2030. It is estimated that 30 per cent of total land in these areas will be submerged by the sea," Toan revealed.

The MNRE has also called on businesses and communities to boost the reforestation of mangrove areas, a crucial ecological method to curb carbon emission, rising sea levels and erosion from 2016 to 2020. — VNS

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